Meet the buyer: Karen Gay
The Shaw Trust’s National Procurement Manager talks about her role at the charity that helps young people and adults enter work and develop a career
Shaw Trust helps young people and adults gain an education, enter work, develop a career or rebuild their lives, both in the UK and internationally – we’re probably the biggest charity you’ve never heard of! I’ve worked in procurement for more than 25 years for a range of international businesses, buying everything from toilet paper to fire engines. I joined Shaw Trust nearly 12 years ago as its first ever National Procurement Manager. The organisation was rapidly expanding and needed a procurement specialist to provide a focused approach to its spending.
We want our team to be empowered, so the majority of arranging and purchasing travel is handled by individual travellers. However, as the number of companies sitting within the Shaw Trust continues to expand, I’m helping to manage that growth in travel requirements. Other than spending time analysing all money spent by the charity, one of my main responsibilities is to train our staff to make good purchasing decisions.
We don’t have travel bookers as such. We prefer to rely on an intuitive end-user tool that allows our staff to make their own arrangements, which is why Click Travel’s travel.cloud self-booking system is ideal. It works like a one-stop shop for all our travel arrangements, saving us time and money.
Shaw Trust employs 3,500 people and 1,400 volunteers across the UK, but only around 20 per cent of those regularly travel. That said, we are rolling out travel.cloud to more companies as the Shaw Trust expands, so the number of users will easily double in the next six months. We try and encourage our employees to travel in the most environmentallyfriendly way possible, which predominantly means by rail. We don’t make many international flights, but we do fly within the UK when required. Most of the trips we make are for company or client meetings, so overnight hotel bookings form a large part of our travel needs. As we’re a charity, every employee understands the importance of spending money effectively and appropriately. Our policy stipulates clearly-defined thresholds on spend for hotels and travel. The policy is hard-wired into the booking system so staff can easily identify what falls within the policy when searching for options, and therefore they know they’re making the right choice. There’s also a reporting system which means we can easily drill down into exactly what is being spent and by whom, so we can effectively track budgets.
We want to get the best value for money from our travel, so we tend to book as early in advance as possible. However, as with any business, meetings can change or be cancelled at the last minute, so we need to be flexible – something that the TMC helps us manage.
OUT OF THE OFFICE I’m a PADI Dive Master and love to travel and dive across the world. I’m a big fan of shipwrecks and sharks and love to dive in Egypt, where I’ve been probably more than 30 times As we’re a charity, every employee understands the importance of spending money effectively and appropriately. Our travel policy stipulates clearly defined thresholds on spend”